Public health experts ask: Should ‘stupid kids’ be allowed to kill vaping

Robert Graboyes and Davis Warnell are highly-regarded experts in the field of public health hailing from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  They are also two of the extremely limited number of public health authorities willing to take a public stance against the FDA on the issue of flavored vapes.

TV watchers might recognize Graboyes from his many appearances on C-SPAN and CNN where he often discusses Obamacare and other issues surrounding healthcare legislation.  Davis Warnell, on the other hand, is far less visible on the tube, but that might be because he is still fairly young.  But don’t let the baby face fool you.  Together, these powerful pro-vaping protagonists have a great deal to say.

Common sense commentary on kids vaping stupidly

In a recent commentary published in the Tribune News Service and the Finger Lakes Times, Graboyes and Warnell ask the basic question, “Should stupid kids deprive you of lifesaving technology?”  It’s a question worth asking - and one that millions of vapers trying to quit smoking have been asking themselves for years.  Graboyes and Warnell begin their article by laying out the fundamental facts about vaping.

  • Vaping saves lives.
  • Vaping is proven to be the most effective way to quit smoking while eliminating the deadly consequences of highly carcinogenic combustible tobacco products.
  • Vaping of fruity flavors is appealing to adults as much as “stupid kids.”
  • Publicity and/or creative marketing strategies employed by manufacturers of vapor products are equally persuasive to adult smokers looking for a safe and effective way to quit as they are to “stupid kids.”.
  • So, why is the FDA and the U.S. government-at-large trying to take life-saving electronic cigarettes away from the American people?

Related Article:  Smoke Free Schools Act of 2018: The anti-vaping bill with an intentionally misleading name

These eloquent e-cig enthusiasts go on to suggest that such government regulation is not only unwarranted and dangerous to public health, it is downright silly.  It’s tantamount to banning automobiles because kids “driving stupidly” have too many accidents compared to adults.

“So, should governments discourage a lifesaving technology because someone else might misuse said technology? For us, the answer is "no" in this case. We don't ban bright-colored automobiles or car ads because some teenagers drive stupidly. The sensible response to e-cigarettes is restrictions on youth behavior and enforcement of those restrictions by legal authorities —and by parents.”

Graboyes and Warnell also make clear that nicotine addiction among teens is still a significant cause for concern, but they also note that while teen vaping is on the rise, teen smoking rates are plummeting. They offer the rather funny argument below.

“Nicotine addiction remains an unwise and unhealthy choice, but it's preferable to nicotine addiction plus lung cancer.”

The dynamic duo even takes precision-like aim directly at FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and his summer-long mainstream media blitz against vaping.  They discuss Gottlieb’s public angst over social media posts by Juul and other retailers which – in Gottlieb’s eyes – are allegedly targeting teenagers specifically. 

“While a clever Facebook page or Twitter feed might indeed attract teenagers' attention, it might also persuade older smokers to drop smoking and start vaping. (Gottlieb himself said, ‘I've talked to ex-smokers, who've told me ... it was the flavors that helped them make that transition off combustible cigarettes.’)”

The majority of the vaping community agrees with Mr. Graboyes and Mr. Warnell.  The new FDA regulations prohibiting the sales of flavored e-liquids via traditional brick-and-mortar retailers is the quintessential example of Nanny State absurdity.  And Gottlieb’s continued threats to perhaps outlaw all favored vapes – even those sold to adults in age-restricted vape shops and online vendors– is puritanical hogwash at its finest.  

Related Article:   FDA’s Gottlieb: If teen vaping doesn’t drop at ‘astonishing’ rate, FDA will kill vaping entirely

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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